Journey guitarist Neal Schon discussed joining Pearl Jam for the All Star Jam at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a recent interview with Rolling Stone.
“It was really funny. That was my first time meeting those guys, definitely my first time meeting Eddie [Vedder]. They couldn’t have been nicer, all of them. All very, very cool, super-great guys. I had to go two days in a row for soundcheck before the event. The first day was for Journey and the second day was for the jam. We head over there from downtown New York. I get there just in time for soundcheck and there’s a zillion people on the stage, as you saw, all the Rush guys and everybody else, Trevor [Rabin]. I was putting some settings on a new amp company I’m working with called Revv, we’re working on a Schon model. The amp sounded very good and I was cranking it up because they play really loud.
We went through Neil Young’s song ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ one time, and that was it. Eddie comes over to me and goes, ‘You play the first solo and we’ll hand it off to the other side of the stage and then Alex [Lifeson] can play and Trevor and everyone else.’ It was like that fast. I’d never played the song before, but obviously I’d heard it on the radio. Once I found it was in E minor I was like, ‘Oh, this is pretty easy.’ I managed to play some cool parts that night playing it for the second time.”
He added, “I loved that. I hope in the future … I’m very adaptable as a guitar player; I’m kind of like a chameleon, so I’d love to be involved with any other jams from here out. There’s so many artists that I appreciate and enjoy and would love to play with, but never had an opportunity to. I’m hopeful this will open up some opportunities.”
He later said, “I watched everything until we played, but then we went back to do interviews. I was bummed I didn’t get to see Lenny [Kravitz] since I was busy in the back doing interviews. I missed pretty much the rest of the show, but I managed to go out onstage about 10 minutes before I went on. I saw Pearl Jam from the back. I could hear it. They sounded amazing, by the way. I love the feel of the band and I’ve always liked them from when they first came out. I remember I was in the studio and this A&R guy came in with their first record. I was like, ‘Wow, this sounds really fresh.’ I liked the drumming on the record and the writing. Their drummer is very strong and I enjoyed playing with him too.”